Saturday, April 3, 2010

Cross: Collectively

Last night I watched part of the Stations of the Cross led by the Pope on EWTN, and thought I noticed a sorrow on the faces of the crowd which, I had not in previous years.

Lent, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter, cannot be the same for Catholics world round. Not this year. Complacency, plague-like; triumphalism, if any, has been shattered. And it is well for us it is so.

We have been attacked, shouted at, spat on, smeared, blackened, but mostly, humiliated, and the best we can hope, humbled.

Our priest broke down, nearly sobbed, during homily at yesterday's service. He apologized for however he might have inflicted hurt to anyone in the flock. He had been saddened, angered, and humbled, by scandals and sensational reportings about the Church; he was angry because ever since the sexual abuse scandals broke eight years ago, the face of priesthood had been altered, to the point of fear to interact normally with his own flock and little school children.

I sensed that his apology was all he could offer to remedy the injury for which he was not responsible. Yet taking responsibility, confessing and paying the debt of others, is quintessentially Catholic. The sins of one, of a handful, of many, inflict the whole. Collectively we must suffer and atone.

I sent the same priest an email a few days ago, to express my distress over the scandal and confusion. This is what I wrote:
"As Catholics we care about the Pope, the Church, but we mostly want to be told the truth, by both the Church or the media. Fairness is the most basic rule for reporting. With the rising temperature in the attacks and anti-attacks, facts are often overlooked, or willfully ignored. Both sides can be guilty of these. The Church teaches us to use reason, and not to be carried away by passion or ideology. I'd be the first to admit it is EXTREMELY hard to do, given the sharply divided political and social reality we face today. I came into the Church convinced it's the citadel of Truth, and still will not accept anything less. I understand the Church is made up of sinners, including the pope. I'm not afraid to look at the wounds, sores, scabs, filth, and dirt in the dark recesses of the Body of Christ, I need to know what's there and how bad things are, so that I would know what to do.

If it's time for sackcloth and ashes, I will not spare myself."

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